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Ligularia - Care Guide

Growing Ligularia dentata

Golden groundsel

Ligularia dentata originates from China and Japan. It is an attractive clump forming perennial which, in the wild, grows alongside streams or in wet grassland. It does not need to be situated near water in our UK gardens and is perfectly happy in a herbaceous border but you do often see it spreading and naturalising to best effect near a pond, lake or water feature.

L. dentata ‘Desdemona’ has kidney-shaped or rounded leaves which are brownish green on top and deep maroon-purple below. Even without its flower spikes the leaves themselves stand out in the border.

Flower spikes appear from July to September and can easily grow 3-5ft tall; perhaps even more near water. The flower heads themselves are deep orange and contrast superbly with the brownish leaves. Each clump will produce multiple flower spikes.

This is a fully hardy plant which dies down completely in winter. We have seldom found it necessary to provide plant supports to help the leaves and flowers stay upright but, in windy or exposed conditions, this may be advisable. The best leaf colour results from growing in full sun but a bit of dappled shade can prevent any scorching of the leaves in very dry periods.

Even if other species of Ligularia are grown nearby L. ‘Desdemona’ will come true from seed sown in the cold frame in spring or autumn. The best and quickest propagation method is however to lift and divide the clumps manually with a spade either after flowering or in the spring. While this Ligularia is not really considered invasive it may eventually need some ‘containment’ as the clumps expand.

Watch out for slug and snail damage on the emerging leaves.

Autumn tidy up - Video Tip


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